The Spanish word ranchería, or rancherío, refers to a small, rural settlement. In the Americas the term was applied to native villages or bunkhouses.[1][2] English adopted the term with both these meanings, usually to designate the residential area of a rancho in the American Southwest, housing aboriginal ranch hands and their families. The term is still used in other parts of Spanish America; for example, the Wayuu tribes in northern Colombia call their villages rancherías.

The Columbia Encyclopedia describes it as:

a type of communal settlement formerly characteristic of the Yaqui Indians of Sonora, Tepehuanes of Durango, Mexico, and of various small Native American groups of the Southwestern U.S., especially in California. These clusters of dwellings were less permanent than the pueblos (see Pueblo) but more so than the camps of the migratory Native Americans.[3]

The term could be applied to the settlements of the California Mission Indians beyond the Spanish missions, such as Maugna of the Tongva people.

Ranchería Wayúu
A Wayuu rancheria, located in the Guajira Peninsula, Colombia


In California, the term refers to a total of 59 Indian settlements established by the U.S. government, 54 of them between 1906 and 1934, for the survivors of the aboriginal population. San Diego State University maintains a reference titled California Indians and Their Reservations: An Online Dictionary. It says:

The Spanish term for small Indian settlements. Rancherías are a particular California institution. A small area of land was set aside around an Indian settlement to create a ranchería. Some rancherías developed from small communities of Indians formed on the outskirts of American settlements who were fleeing Americans or avoiding removal to the reservations. […] With the passage of Public Law 83-280 in the mid-1950s, terminating federal supervision and control over California tribes, some 40 rancherías lost the right to certain federal programs, and their lands no longer had the protection of federal status. In 1983, a lawsuit resulted in restoring federal recognition to 17 rancherías, with others still waiting for the reversal of their termination.[4]

The word migrated north with the 49ers to the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in an adapted form, "rancherie". It survives in British Columbia as a somewhat archaic but still commonly used word, in rural areas and small towns, as well as in general First Nations English usage, meaning the residential area of an Indian Reserve. It especially means the historical residential area, as opposed to newer subdivisions. It was further extended to refer to other non-white residential communities, such as the Kanaka Rancherie in early Vancouver, British Columbia, which came to house the city's Kanaka (Hawaiian) residents. In an even more truncated form, the Ranche was used to refer to the Tlingit portion of Sitka, Alaska.

See also


  1. ^ Aristos: Diccionario ilustrado de la lengua española. Barcelona: Ramón Sopena. 1982. p. 516. ISBN 84-303-0948-9. Ranchería: Collection of rustic homes or huts which form a sort of settlement.
  2. ^ Real Academia Española (2001). "Diccionario de la lengua española: Vigésima segunda edición". Retrieved 14 December 2010. Ranchería: Collection of huts which form a sort of settlement. Rancherío: Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. Disorganized and squalid collection of precarious homes in rural areas.
  3. ^ Rancheria. Archived 2005-01-11 at the Wayback Machine The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001-07 (retrieved 12 April 2009)
  4. ^ California Indians and Their Reservations. San Diego State University Library and Information Access. (retrieved 12 April 2009)

Acherontisuchus is an extinct genus of dyrosaurid neosuchian from Middle to Late Paleocene deposits of Colombia. The only known species is A. guajiraensis, whose name means "Acheron crocodile of the Guajira Peninsula".


Anthracosuchus (meaning "coal crocodile" in Greek) is an extinct genus of dyrosaurid crocodyliform from the Paleocene of Colombia. Remains of Anthracosuchus balrogus, the only known species, come from the Cerrejón Formation in the Cerrejón mine, and include four fossil specimens with partial skulls. Anthracosuchus differs from other dyrosaurids in having an extremely short (brevirostrine) snout, widely spaced eye sockets with bony protuberances around them, and osteoderms that are smooth and thick. It is one of the most basal dyrosaurids along with Chenanisuchus and Cerrejonisuchus. The species name is a reference to the Balrog, a creature in J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings that could, like the remains of Anthracosuchus, be found in a mine.


Carbonemys cofrinii is an extinct podocnemidid turtle known from the Middle Paleocene Cerrejón Formation of the Cesar-Ranchería Basin in northeastern Colombia. The formation is dated at around 60 to 58 million years ago, starting at about five million years after the KT extinction event.


Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki is an extinct podocnemid turtle which existed in Colombia during the Paleogene period; the Middle to Late Paleocene epoch.


Cerrejonisuchus is an extinct genus of dyrosaurid crocodylomorph. It is known from a complete skull and mandible from the Cerrejón Formation in northeastern Colombia, which is Paleocene in age. Specimens belonging to Cerrejonisuchus and to several other dyrosaurids have been found from the Cerrejón open-pit coal mine in La Guajira. The length of the rostrum is only 54-59% of the total length of the skull, making the snout of Cerrejonisuchus the shortest of all dyrosaurids.


Cerrejón is a large open-pit coal mine in Colombia. It is located in the southeast of the department of La Guajira, close to the border with Venezuela. The coal mine is situated in the northeastern part of the Cesar-Ranchería Basin, the basin of the Ranchería River, between the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the west and the Serranía del Perijá to the southeast. At Cerrejón, low-ash, low-sulphur bituminous coal from the Cerrejón Formation is excavated. The mine is one of the largest of its type, the largest in Latin America and the tenth biggest in the world. Cerrejón extends over 690 square kilometres (270 sq mi). It is divided into three sections, North Zone, Central Zone and South Zone. Total proven reserves are estimated at 503 megatonnes. In 2016, the mine produced 32,683,315 tonnes (32,167,132 long tons; 36,027,188 short tons).

Cerrejón Formation

The Cerrejón Formation is a geologic formation in Colombia dating back to the Middle-Late Paleocene. It is found in the El Cerrejón sub-basin of the Cesar-Ranchería Basin of La Guajira and Cesar. The formation consists of bituminous coal fields that are an important economic resource. Coal from the Cerrejón Formation is mined extensively from the Cerrejón open-pit coal mine, one of the largest in the world. The formation also bears fossils that are the earliest record of Neotropical rainforests.

Cesar-Ranchería Basin

The Cesar-Ranchería Basin (Spanish: Cuenca Cesar-Ranchería) is a sedimentary basin in northeastern Colombia. It is located in the southern part of the department of La Guajira and northeastern portion of Cesar. The basin is bound by the Oca Fault in the northeast and the Bucaramanga-Santa Marta Fault in the west. The mountain ranges Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and the Serranía del Perijá enclose the narrow triangular intermontane basin, that covers an area of 11,668 square kilometres (4,505 sq mi). The Cesar and Ranchería Rivers flow through the basin, bearing their names.

The basin is of importance for hosting the worldwide tenth biggest and largest coal mine of Latin America, Cerrejón. The coals are mined from the Paleocene Cerrejón Formation, that also has provided several important paleontological finds, among others Titanoboa cerrejonensis, with an estimated length of 14 metres (46 ft) and a weight of 1,135 kilograms (2,502 lb), the biggest snake discovered to date, the giant crocodylians Cerrejonisuchus improcerus, Anthracosuchus balrogus and Acherontisuchus guajiraensis, and the large turtles Carbonemys cofrinii, Puentemys mushaisaensis and Cerrejonemys wayuunaiki. Various genera of flora, as Aerofructus dillhoffi, Menispermites cerrejonensis, M. guajiraensis, Montrichardia aquatica, Petrocardium cerrejonense and P. wayuuorum, Stephania palaeosudamericana and Ulmoidicarpum tupperi among others, have been found in the Cerrejón Formation, the sediments of which are interpreted as representing the first Neotropic forest in the world. Mean annual temperature has been estimated to have been between 28.5 and 33 °C (83.3 and 91.4 °F) and yearly precipitation ranging from 2,260 to 4,640 millimetres (89 to 183 in) per year.

The Cesar-Ranchería Basin is relatively underexplored for hydrocarbons, compared to neighbouring hydrocarbon-rich provinces as the Maracaibo Basin and Middle Magdalena Valley. The first oil exploration was conducted in 1916 and several wells have been drilled since then. The basin is estimated to host the second-largest reserves of coal bed methane (CBM) of Colombia, with 25 % of the country's total resources. The coal of the basin is mined in several quarries, most notably Cerrejón and La Francia. The total production of coal from the Cesar-Ranchería Basin in 2016 was almost 81 Megatons.

Cueva de la Ranchería

Cueva de la Ranchería is an archaeological site located south of Ciudad Madera, in the Sirupa Canyon region, northwest of the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Ciudad Madera has basic tourism infrastructure, however it may be difficult to get transportation to visit the site, since it covers a large area at the base of the Sirupa Canyon. It is a relatively long drive on a dirt road. It is suggested planning a trip for a minimum of 9 to 10 hours, with little time to explore. It is also possible to visit the San Andrés Sirupa mission, destroyed by Tarahumaras in 1690. The landscape is particularly beautiful and makes it the trip worthwhile from the Sirupa village. Nearby are thermal hot water springs.It is advisable to visit the site with an experienced guide.

Juyubit, California

Juyubit (also, Jujubit) is a former Serrano, and perhaps Tongva, Ranchería settlement in Los Angeles County, California.Juyubit may have been near the Mission San Gabriel Arcángel and San Gabriel River, as versions are mentioned in the narrative legend of late 18th—early 19th century Tongvan heroine Toypurina. Its precise location in the San Gabriel Valley is unknown.

Kowanga, California

Kowanga (also, Owongos) is a former Tongva (Fernandeño) Native American settlement, or ranchería, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, in Los Angeles County, California.It was located near the Mission San Fernando Rey de España.

Maugna, California

Maugna is a former Tongva-Gabrieleño Native American settlement, or ranchería, in Los Angeles County, California.It was located at Rancho Los Feliz (Rancho Felis), present day Hollywood.

Montrichardia aquatica

Montrichardia aquatica is an extinct species of monocot plant in the Araceae family. M. aquatica is related to the living species M. arborescens and M. linifera. The species is solely known from the Middle to Late Paleocene (about 60 to 58 Ma), fossil-rich Cerrejón Formation in La Guajira, northern Colombia.


Puentemys is an extinct genus of bothremydid turtle from the Paleocene-age Cerrejón Formation in Colombia. It is the largest known bothremydid with a shell length of up to 1.51 m (5.0 ft). Puentemys is the only Paleocene bothremydid known from South America, and is most closely related to the genus Foxemys from the Late Cretaceous of Europe, showing that Bothremydini, the tribe of bothremydids to which Puentemys belonged, had a nearly worldwide distribution across the K-T boundary. The ancestors of Puentemys may have reached South America by dispersing across Paleocene coastlines or by riding currents across the Atlantic Ocean.

Ranchería River

The Ranchería River (Spanish: Río Ranchería) is a river located in northern La Guajira Department, Colombia. Born in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta southern steps flows south, abruptly turns northeast and then north towards the Caribbean sea where it finally flows into. It is the main river of La Guajira Department and has great significance for the Wayuu people.

Roaring Creek Rancheria

The Roaring Creek Rancheria is a federal Indian reservation belonging to Achumawi and Atsugewi members of the Pit River Tribe, a federally recognized tribe of indigenous people of California. The ranchería is located in Shasta County in north-central California.Established in 1915, Roaring Creek Rancheria is 80 acres (320,000 m2) large and is located 43 miles northeast of Redding, California. More locally, it lies about 5 miles northwest of the unincorporated community of Montgomery Creek.

Table Mountain Rancheria

The Table Mountain Rancheria is a federally recognized tribe of Native American people from the Chukchansi band of Yokuts and the Monache tribe. It is also the tribe's ranchería, located in Fresno County, California.


Titanoboa () is an extinct genus of very large snakes that lived in what is now La Guajira in northeastern Colombia. They could grow up to 12.8 m (42 ft) long and reach a weight of 1,135 kg (2,500 lb).Fossils of Titanoboa have been found in the Cerrejón Formation, and date to around 58 to 60 million years ago. The giant snake lived during the Middle to Late Paleocene epoch, a 10-million-year period immediately following the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.The only known species is Titanoboa cerrejonensis, the largest snake ever discovered, which supplanted the previous record holder, Gigantophis.

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